Direct students in an activity to find Treasure Island by sailing from one island node to another to help them conceptualize finite-state machines.

  • Choose a few students to be "islands." They will hold cards identifying their island, with secret instructions on the back.
    • Position the islands randomly around the room or playground.
    • The rest of the students (pirates) are given a map and must navigate a route from Pirates’ Island to Treasure Island, marking it carefully on their maps.
    • To go from island to island, pirates must choose between ship "A," and ship "B".
      • "Island" students will use the secret instructions to tell the pirates where the ship they choose will take them.
  • Ask students who finish quickly to try to find more than one route.
  • To connect this activity to finite-state machines, explain that each island represents a state in a finite-state machine, and each ship represents a transition.
  • Check out the CS Unplugged Finite-State Automata Activity for more details.